Hungary’s Magyar Telekom launched commercial 5G mobile network services on 9 April 2020 in partnership with Ericsson, two weeks after winning its 5G frequency licence. The operator announced on its website that the new 3.6GHz high speed, low latency network is open for access to users with 5G-capable devices and suitable post-paid mobile data packages, in certain parts of downtown Budapest, at the Telekom headquarters and the adjacent Groupama Arena, at the Puskas Ferenc stadium, in downtown Zalaegerszeg, and at the Zalaegerszeg ZalaZone automotive test track.
Telekom is currently marketing only two 5G devices which can access the new network, the LG V50 and Huawei Mate 20X 5G, but it stresses that several existing Samsung devices shall also become 5G-capable on the network soon via a software upgrade, whilst the range will be substantially expanded with handsets from various vendors by the end of the year.
CEO Tibor Rekasi noted that Magyar Telekom had been operating a test 5G network for six months, enabling it to quickly switch on commercial 5G services with data rates ‘significantly higher than earlier’ while opening up the potential for new B2B, industrial and IoT/smart city use cases in collaboration with its subsidiary T-Systems Hungary. By the end of the year, Rekasi said Telekom will ‘further increase 5G regional coverage’.
Magyar Telekom won frequencies including 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band and 1×120MHz in the 3600MHz band in Hungary’s licence auction on 26 March, with its main mobile rivals Vodafone Hungary and Telenor Hungary also receiving spectrum in these bands. Vodafone Hungary already operated some live 5G network sections in Budapest courtesy of an existing bandwidth allocation.